Making resolutions is a useful way to stay on top of goals and greet the new year with enthusiasm.
Many people consider the first day of January a perfect time to symbolically begin anew. Goals are set and new systems to reach them are put into place. Many people vow to finally become the person they truly want to be. Each new year, gyms fill to the brim and fresh diets are enacted.
New Year’s resolutions receive a lot of criticism because determination often only lasts a few weeks before fizzling out until the next round. Many people view resolutions as setting themselves up for failure, and some do not even attempt to make any changes because they are convinced they will not stick.
Resolutions, however, are important aspects to the turning of a new year. As December draws to a close and the year changes, people reflect on their experiences in the past 12 months. They are reminded that a year can fly past in the blink of an eye. Resolutions center a person in the confusing and sometimes frightening face of time, a thing which seems to only speed up with age. Making goals for the new year gives some sense of control in an aspect of life over which humans virtually have none. With goals to look forward to, the new year becomes a prospect of excitement rather than dread.
Resolutions allow insight into who a person truly wants to be. In that moment, infinite possibilities open up. Even if these goals are abandoned after a few weeks, it is important for people to remember their potential to be and do anything they want. We are reminded of this year after year. If the tradition of resolution-making was completely abandoned, that would be one less opportunity for people to recognize the full spectrum of possibilities available to them.
For the pessimists out there, there is a positive spin to the failed resolution as well. Each and every year, pessimists are given another chance to be proven right as they abandon their goals after two weeks of half-heartedly trying. Nothing is more glorious to a pessimist than to be proven right about the true negative nature of the world. Pessimists should consider failed New Year’s resolutions as a chance to confirm their negative worldview as soon as the year begins.
In truth, any moment is the perfect time to seek and create true, positive change. Yet there is something refreshing about timing it with the start of a new cycle. There is something special about this tradition that links humans together, however briefly, in mutual encouragement and fellowship. For just one moment, the entire world simultaneously welcomes change and seeks improvement, and I think that is a positive occurrence, no matter how brief.
See also http://star.txstate.edu/node/1287